Apple’s big annual product splash is Wednesday, and the rumors have been flying and the leaks have been leaking. Here’s a roundup of what’s expected, from several publications and tech bloggers.
But first, a word — and a couple of charts — about the iPhone. In case anyone wonders how big it is, here’s a look at iPhone revenue versus other tech enterprises. You name it, from hardware giant HP to online giant Amazon, the iPhone is bigger.
The iPhone, of course, isn’t the only thing Apple does. But it has become what provides nearly two-thirds of Apple revenue.
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▪ New iPhone features: Expect at least a faster processor and better camera — allowing selfie panoramas and slow motion — for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Those models, introduced last year, went big-screen and were the most important redesign since the iPhone appeared in 2007, so this year’s features and their sales boost aren’t expected to be as important.
There’s also talk that the phones will get the Force Touch screen, an Apple Watch feature that lets you pull up features by pressing down harder on the screen. Better iCloud storage pricing is another possibility, to make it easier to stash big media files so they don’t fill up your iPhone.
▪ A larger iPad: The 12.9-inch iPad Pro will have Force Touch and a stylus, and further blur the line between a tablet and laptop. More split-screen features and upgraded USB ports and iOS9 operating system also are expected. It’s expected to ship in November.
▪ Apple TV: Its set-top box, unlike the iPhone, will be completely revamped, including a new remote control with a touch pad and motion sensors so it can double as a video-game controller. Also expected: powerful content search, and a new iOS 9 interface that can be voice controlled using Apple’s Siri assistant.
As is often the case, though, Apple hardware will cost more, perhaps $150 more than similar devices from Roku, Amazon and Google. So, Apple is letting developers for the first time be able to build content and apps, including games and videos, for Apple TV.
A new streaming service offering original content is still thought to be in the works, but not ready till next year.
▪ Block that ad: The new iOS 9 operating system for the iPhone and iPad will let users download software that blocks ads from being shown on websites. AdBlock Plus, for instance, promises software for the iPhone and iPad soon after Apple releases iOS 9. That’s bad news for online advertisers, who by one estimate lose $22 billion in annual revenue to ad-blocking software.
▪ Nothing earthshaking for the Apple Watch, but new sport bands and an operating system upgrade, WatchOS 2.0, are expected.
Greg Hack also can be reached at 816-234-4439. Follow him @GregHack — on your Apple, Android, Microsoft or other devices.